As down the track I am sure I will want to replace things like ä with a etc as well.
That doesn't sound like a good idea. ä is a letter in some languages, not just "a with diacritic". Writing a name without the "diacritic" could be downright wrong. (Yes, sports broadcasts frequently do it that way, but that doesn't mean you should.) Do you really need to pare all of your text down to 7-bit ASCII?
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